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NASA's Spacecraft Propulsion Research Facility (B-2) is the world's only facility capable of testing full-scale upper-stage launch vehicles and rocket engines under simulated high-altitude conditions

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BTK Able 20 meter solar sail deployed in SPF Installation of the Delta 3 engine in B-2
Space Simulation Facilities (Plum Brook Station)
The space simulation facilities listed below are located at Plum Brook Station. Very large and potentially hazardous tests are run at this 6,400-acre complex in Sandusky, Ohio, about an hour west of Cleveland.

The facility names above and in the left hand column of the chart below link directly to the related facility site pages.

Description and Features
Description: World's largest high vacuum facility
Focus: Flight qualification testing
• Integrated power system tests
• Fairing separations
• Mars Landing Systems Tests
• Planetary and Lunar Surface Simulation
Dimensions: 30.5 m-dia x 37.2 m-long
(100 ft x 122 ft)
Vacuum System: (16) 48 in ODP (oil diffuser pumps)
(10) 52 in cryopumps
No load pressure: 1 x 10-6 torr
Pumping Speed: 1,300,000 liter/sec (air)
Features: • Thermal Simluation
• Configurable cold wall
• Quartz lamp heater arrays
• Large test article handling
• Very low vibration environment
Description: World's only upper stage propulsion facility capable of space simulation and rocket engine firing.
Focus: Upper Stage Launch Vehicle Qualification Testing
Dimensions: 10.7 m dia x 16.8 m high
(35 ft x 55 ft)
Vacuum System: (10) 48 in ODP (oil diffuser pumps)
No load pressure: 5 x 10-7 torr
Pumping Speed: 350,000 liter/sec (air)
Features: • Hot Firing
• Thermal Simulation
• Hazardous Testing Capability
• Altitude Simulation
• 27 ft. test port
Description: Hazardous testing requiring a high vacuum
Focus: Propellant/ Cryogenic Fluids
Dimensions: 7.6 m dia sphere (25 ft dia)
Vacuum System: (4) 35 in ODP (oil diffuser pumps)
No load pressure: 5 x 10-7 torr
Pumping Speed: 150,000 liter/sec (air)
Features: • Hazardous Testing Capability
• Thermal Shroud
• Vibration Testing
Description: High Vacuum Facility
Focus: Component Screening (checkout of hardware for large facilities)
Vacuum System: Diffusion pumps

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Editor: Sharon Maier, SGT Inc.
NASA Official: Linda C. Elonen-Wright
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Last Updated: June 23, 2014